Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Court strikes out affidavit on money trail in 1MDB-linked forfeiture suit

Judge says the affidavit was filed during the submission stage and would cause prejudice to the third-party claimants: former prime minister Najib Razak and Umno.

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The High Court in Kuala Lumpur today struck out a purported money trail affidavit filed by the prosecution in a RM114 million forfeiture suit linked to 1MDB.

This came after judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin allowed the application by former prime minister Najib Razak’s lead counsel, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, and Umno’s counsel, Hariharan Tara Singh, to strike out the affidavit.

Jamil, in his brief decision, said the affidavit was filed during the submission stage and would cause prejudice to the third-party claimants, namely Najib and Umno.

“It was filed after all of the other affidavits were filed and without leave of the court.

“Accordingly, I rule that the affidavit cannot be used and I will not consider the affidavit in support. Shafee may continue with the submission,” said the judge at the hearing of the government’s application to forfeit RM114,164,393.44 and jewellery seized at a premise owned by Obyu Holdings Sdn Bhd.

The affidavit in question is crucial to the prosecution’s 1MDB-linked forfeiture suit against Obyu Holdings.

On Feb 10, the prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, contended that Umno had a secret unaudited account to receive political donations, which they argued is an offence under the Societies Act 1966.

In the suit’s written submission, the prosecution claimed this was because some of Umno’s own leaders denied having knowledge about the funds.

Obyu Holdings is owned by Bustari Yusof, who is the younger brother of former works minister Fadillah Yusof and a close associate of Najib.

The prosecution filed the forfeiture application against Obyu Holdings to forfeit the items including 11,991 pieces of jewellery, 401 watches and 16 watch accessories, 234 pairs of eyewear and 306 handbags, as well as cash in various denominations amounting to RM114,164,393.44.

The money and jewellery were seized by the authorities for allegedly being linked to the 1MDB fund scandal.

On Sept 3, 2019, it was reported that Najib was among several third parties seeking to stake a claim in the forfeiture suit involving cash and jewellery, among others, seized by the authorities from Pavilion Residences in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.

The other third-party claimants in the forfeiture suit are Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, Umno and Lebanese jeweller Global Royalty Trading SAL.

The submission before Jamil continues on Monday.

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